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the pentagon's budget and still protect national security. former defense undersecretary michelle flournoy, if identify got that right -- michelle flournoy, i beg your pardon, she penned an op-ed in the wall street journal this week. joining us is aforementioned michele flournoy. michelle, or undersecretary, which ever you prefer -- >> michelle, please. >> i thought your piece was terrific. sequester or not, defense department is going to lose 10% of its budget and you think there are good ways to do it. walk us through some of the key points. >> i do think the defense budget will come under pressure, even if we do get a deal. there are ways to reduce costs go after the defense enterprise rather than balance the budget on the back of the force. first cutting unnecessary overhead. the pentagon and d.o.d. has grown by more than 100,000 civilians in the last decade. we can pare those back now that we're coming out of a period of war. >> i thought your civilian argument was great. we've been through these wars and you're saying you can take it right back down without losing any national securi
the pentagon to allocate the cuts in their best judgment rather than forcing certain cuts on them. that would be one helpful thing, but i think the bargaining power almost requires that we allow it to happen before -- before anybody is going to get serious about their negotiation. i agree. it's a terrible idea, but it's maybe a bad idea whose time has come. >> laura you say it's not next to happen. >> right. >> you say there's no debt crisis. how would you describe the 16 trillion debt. >> so what i would say, look, there were estimates out there at the beginning of the year we needed about $4 trillion to stabilize the debt-to-gdp ratio. we're about 60% of the way there. we do need additional revenue increases or spending cuts over the next decade, but let me emphasize. over the next decade. not at a moment in time when the economy has 7.9% unemployment and is operating under its capacity to the tune of maybe six percentage points below capacity. this is a terrible time to do what needs to be done, and it's also a terrible way to do it because it's like telling a business you have to cut ever
he knows and doesn't know about the pentagon because he didn't know much. why are the democrats going to lay down for this? >> if i were the democrats and i'm looking at a republican whose foreign policy views are very popular with the likes of pat buchanan, might have some second thoughts about that. nice a guy as pat is, his foreign policy view ace little bit crazy. chuck hagel obviously holds some views, has empathies that are out of the mainstream of the republicans and democrats. we have two parts that agree on a very aggressive interventionist policy. >> besides president obama, i admit the president usually gets his own. i don't see anybody laying down for this guy. and i read today, okay, i read pretty your stuff. i read it from a lot of stuff. he is refusing to disclose his financials. particularly his foreign financials. i don't know how you get through under those circumstances. >> the democrats will support him. the more important issue for them is barack obama. barack obama is still the number one issue in politics today. and democrats need his support to win in 2014. so
to see you. i wanted to put this up. this is what's on the cover of "usa today." pentagon warns of huge cuts. when you think about what's going on in washington, right now, and you think about the sequester that may or may not happen, and you think about your history in washington, do you think that we will have the sequester? >> andrew, i don't know. i think it's a very complicated situation. i think we had a great opportunity and i actually thought there was some reasonable chance it might happen, which was to have a grand bargain that could have addressed what is really unsustainable and deeply dangerous long-term fiscal situation and i think if we had done that, not only would be useful for the long run but i think could have generated confidence in the shorter run and promote jobs now. now instead of that we have a happen has 5rd process. a sequester we're facing. it's a terrible piece of legislation. it arbitrarily cuts defense and nondefense without thoughtfully doing so. instead of being phased in so we'd have more room for recovery, it hits abruptly. and it's far, far from clea
's not going to be any opportunity to cut pentagon spending in any serious way if you don't go over the cliff. so there is some stuff in there that i as a democrat don't like. but i think everybody's going to put something in the pot in order to balance the deficit. we did a lousy job in january on the tax side and i hope that -- i think it's better to go over the cliff than do a lousy job -- >> how many people do you know on your side of the field who actually agree with you? >> very few. look they're politicians. they want to spend as much money as they possibly can and they don't want to pay for it. >> who agrees with you? >> oh, i don't know. i bet -- oh, god, joe agrees with me. >> you forgot. the other thing, howard, and i'm just alluding to it, there will be no return to the bush era tax rates on anyone under $400,000? >> right. >> okay. so take that amount of money, whatever that is per year. how much do you need -- how many loopholes do you need to close? what is the marginal rate have to be on people above 400 to replace that potential revenue? it's 100%, isn't it? >> but i don't --
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